Sainsbury’s is giving families fridges with tiny cameras inside, to let them see what food they’ve got at home when they are out shopping.
The supermarket is giving 20 families a ‘smart fridge’ equipped with two cameras that take pictures of the contents of your fridge every time the door is closed.
Shoppers can check the ‘fridge selfies’ from an app on their phones, to avoid ‘doubling up’ and buying something they already have.
A quarter of households waste £235 worth of food every year due to buying products they already have in the fridge, according to the supermarket.
Fruit and veg are the most overbought items, with 38% and 35% of shoppers regularly buying more than they need, Sainsbury’s says. Milk, cheese and eggs are also in the top five.
Shoppers can also zoom in to see how much of a product they have, using an app called HomeConnect with the high-tech Bosch fridge.
Sainsbury’s is installing the fridges this week in homes in the town of Swadlincote in South Derbyshire, in a bid to reduce food waste.
Even though 70% of people try to check their fridge before they go food shopping, more than half of them forget what’s in their fridge when they are out, or buy ‘top-up’ food on the way home from work that they don’t need.
The fridge was launched by Bosch in April and has a retail value of £899.
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson told HuffPost UK: “The fridge is fitted with two cameras, both static. One is in the door facing in, and one inside the fridge facing the door.
“There’s an element of organisation needed – if you put something directly in front of the camera you won’t see around it – but it does give the opportunity to see both inside the fridge and the door.”
The town of Swadlincote is being used as a ‘test’ area for a swathe of food waste experiments carried out by Sainsbury’s.
Families will get to keep the fridges after the initial six-month trial and there is the potential to roll out the scheme to more people “if it proves a big success,” the spokesperson said.
Sainsbury’s is working with sustainability group WRAP to monitor the results.
Half of the families will use the fridges however they like, while the other ten will receive support and advice from Sainsbury’s Waste Less Save More food waste campaign, to compare the difference.
Sainsbury’s is investing £1 million in making Swadlincote the official ‘test-bed’ for ideas, with a target of cutting the town’s food waste by 50% over 12 months.
Ideas being trialled in the town of around 30,000 people range from handing out fridge thermometers to keep fridges at an optimal temperature to preserve food, to residents using the app OLIO, which lets you tell people in your local community about leftover food you have to give away.
The supermarket offers tips for how people can best use their fridges below.